Pentecostal Past

This is continuation to say some of what was going through my mind when I saw this video.

I grew up a pentecostal preachers kid (so did Shawna), so we’re very familiar with how church can be very strange to non-believers. And there are extremes. Just compare pentecostal (screaming, running, speaking in tongues) to baptist (hymnals and boring sermons). I could care less about the “rivalry” between denominations – that isn’t the point I’m trying to make. The point is none of the “traditional” approaches and doctrines are reaching people as effectively as the new “mega”churches who are being creative to get people in the doors.

If I, having grown up in church all my life, can say that our traditional churches are strange then what the heck do people who have never been to church think?? I think about this stuff.

A gross majority of churches are so far behind the times that an un-churched person only gets a perception that they will have to become a completely different personality if they get ‘born again’. That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense so I’ll put it this way… We live in the freakin 21st century now and things have changed quite a bit, but not in most churches. People shouldn’t feel like they’re going to have to take a time warp back to the 1950’s in order to be a Christian, or that they’re gonna have to become comfortable around what seems like raving lunatics running around screaming in a language nobody understands (that’s an un-churched persons view of pentacostal – don’t judge me for saying that cause you know it’s true – I believe in gifts of the spirit too but I’m not so naive to believe humans aren’t abusing the “gift” – acting and manipulation isn’t just a hollywood thing – not everyone has a gift for acting just like not everyone receives the “gifts” of the spirit – and it doesn’t matter how hard somebody gets pushed if they aren’t meant to “receive” it). Am I preaching yet? Amen brothahh, Gloree-ahh!!

I’ve talked to people who genuinely feel drawn (led, convicted, however you want to put it) to go to church but then seem to balk at actually showing up. They begin justifying their position of not going to church by saying they feel like they shouldn’t have to change who they are. They’re being confused in to thinking that who they are is wrong rather than it being the sin they’re living in, and the church is the one sending them that message. You can live in 2007, be cool, and still be a Christian. You can be a simple spoken person and still get the message. You can dress comfortable and still participate in worship. You can, and will, make mistakes (sin) and can still be a Christian. YOU’RE FORGIVEN!!

So many people in church act like they’re perfect instead of just being real and humble about their sins. What does that say to someone who isn’t saved?? They can’t imagine being so perfect. They can’t imagine worshipping anything with that music you’re playing. And they would rather stay home and be entertained by the TV than go to a traditional church and watch the preacher entertain his dying congregation of senior citizens the same way the preacher from 6 generations ago did when the “denomination” was founded. Do you think Jesus preached the way preachers do today?? Heck no! If we did everything exactly the way Jesus did then we should be wearing very strange clothes and having church on the hillside rather than in our underfunded buildings. Well if we’re not doing it the way Jesus did then why should church be the same way today that it was 50 years ago?? I hear my pastor say it this way all the time, “Nickelodeon is spending money and being creative to get our kids attention. Hollywood is spending money and being creative to get adults attention. The church needs to spend money and get creative to get people’s attention.”

Some reading this might take offense and others of you might wonder why. Like I said, I grew up in church. My dad was a preacher, my father-in-law is still the pastor of a church, I’ve got two uncles who are preachers, my moms cousins are big-time in ministry and especially youth ministry. I’ve got family I don’t even know or remember in ministry. They may or may not agree with everything as I see it and it doesn’t matter (they probably could care less what I say anyway cause I’m not a preacher). We may not agree on methods but we agree on the same objective.

I read a great letter the other day from one of the executive pastors at my church. He was explaining to someone that we’re all on the same team. Despite all the passion and harsh thoughts I shared above I try to never forget that we’re still all on the same team. There are a lot more dads like the one in that video and we should be doing whatever it takes to reach them.

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